Claudette Schreuders

About Artist: Claudette Schreuders creates carved and painted wooden figures that reflect the ambiguities of the search for an 'African' identity in the post-apartheid 21st century. The domain of woodcarving is a contested one for a young, white, Afrikaans woman, but the subtractive process of carving offers a certain lack of control that she enjoys. Her figures demonstrate a hybrid canon influenced by the blolo and colon figures of West Africa, as well as other stylistic input from medieval church sculpture, Spanish portraiture and Egyptian woodcarving. Their stocky bodies, solid stance and staring eyes 'own' space in a very particular way, partly indebted to the shape of the block of wood from which they emerge. Narrative and story-telling are fundamental to the reading of her figures, which is why Schreuders opts to show small bodies of work as sculptural installations, after which the figures are available to be bought individually. Schreuders' figures are essentially modern deities for modern problems, taking with them the blolo figures' potential to 'cure', as well as engaging with issues around foreignness and hostility and the means we use to create a space for ourselves in a perceived 'alien' environment.

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